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Indonesia wants Playboy to postpone issue

Jakarta’s police chief said on Thursday, a day after violent attacks on the offices of Playboy magazine’s Indonesia publishers, that they should put off their next issue.
MUSLIM PROTESTERS TEAR PLAYBOY APART
Members of the Islamic Defenders Front tear an edition of the Indonesian version of Playboy magazine apart during a protest outside the building housing the magazine's office in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday.Achmad Ibrahim / AP
/ Source: Reuters

Jakarta’s police chief said on Thursday, a day after violent attacks on the offices of Playboy magazine’s Indonesia publishers, that they should postpone the next issue.

About 300 hard-line Islamists vandalized the building housing Playboy’s offices on Wednesday in a protest against its publication in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

The protesters threw rocks at the front lobby, breaking windows of the building in the south of Jakarta several days after the magazine hit Indonesian news-stands for the first time.

Police made some efforts to stop the attackers but did not arrest anyone.

“It would be better if there were a deal to postpone the second edition,” Jakarta police chief Firman Gani told reporters on Thursday.

He said he planned to ask the publishers to meet with police to discuss the matter, but would appeal to higher authorities for support of a postponement if Playboy did not voluntarily comply.

The postponement would allow police time to investigate whether Playboy’s issue had violated any laws, Gani said.

Despite widespread controversy over the issue, most observers say the magazine, which bared little more flesh than newspaper lingerie ads, went no further or if anything was tamer than foreign and domestic competitors already commonly on sale in Indonesia.

Asked why those magazines were not being asked to pull their issues, Gani said that if they also “caused public restlessness, we would take some steps.”

No action against militants
He did not announce new actions against any of the militants involved in the Wednesday attack or the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), the hard-line group that organized the demonstration.

FPI members are known for taking laws into their own hands, for example by attacking bars selling alcohol during the Muslim fasting period, and massage parlors.

In February they beat on the U.S. embassy gate in Jakarta with sticks and pelted the embassy complex with tomatoes, eggs and stones, breaking windows as outnumbered police watched.

Some groups have criticized police in the past for selective law enforcement that effectively encourages militant violence, but Gani said police have arrested FPI members on various occasions and were protecting Playboy staff members.

About 85 percent of Indonesia’s 220 million people are Muslims. Most are moderates, but militant groups have been increasingly vocal in recent years.

Several deadly bombing attacks in Indonesia have been blamed on the al-Qaida-linked Southeast Asia militant network Jemaah Islamiah, including blasts in Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people.

Founded in 1953, U.S.-based Playboy has about 20 editions around the world that cater to local tastes.